Monday, December 24, 2012

Emergency Vet

Griffin is my special needs dog. He was very sick when I got him (see Griffin's Health, 2010). Before palate surgery in 2010, he suffered from one respiratory infection after another. It would start with a little cough and within a day or two, he would be hacking, gasping for air and barely able to walk a few steps. We went to the vet over and over and he was on antibiotics for months. It's been almost 3 years without an infection, so I wasn't overly concerned when he starting coughing on Friday.

But Sunday Nate woke me up and with a concerned look on his face told me that Grif wasn't breathing well and that he'd vomited. Griffin didn't want to eat, was coughing a lot more and was definitely not feeling well. He drank some water and I was planning to watch him all day and then take him to the vet  on Monday morning. But when he went outside and vomited all the water he had just finished drinking, I got worried and decided to take him to the emergency vet. 

The vet examined him and then presented me with an estimate of $1300-$2500 for treatment. In addition to chest scans and some blood tests, she expected he would have to be admitted for 24-48 hours. I was pretty sure that after an IV to get him rehydrated and some antibiotics, he'd bounce back quickly, so I admitted him.

The tests confirmed he had pneumonia and so Griffin spent most of yesterday and overnight in a special  oxygenated kennel (it looked a little like a plastic box with a tube that pumped air into it). He received several nebulizer treatments, had an IV put in to deliver antibiotics, anti nausea medication and whatever they use to keep you hydrated. He spent the night but was able to come home this morning at 8am. 

He will be on antibiotics for 3 weeks and for the next 48 hours, he needs to eat small amounts of food every 2 hours, do something called coupage every 4 hours (using a cupped hand, I alternate pounding on his chest to try to break up the junk in his lungs) and he can't get excited or move around too much. 

Griffin is snoring loudly on the couch as I type this and he is noticeably healthier than he was yesterday. I am not thrilled that I had to spend $1500, but I am very happy he is feeling better.

A few years ago, one of the vet techs made a comment that sometimes special needs animals find their way to the people who will take care of them. I didn't have any idea Grif would need so much care but I am confident that if he had stayed with his first owner, he wouldn't be alive today. When I think back to the random, semi-sketchy first time I met him, I can't believe I took him home in the first place. He'd just had a bath and promptly rolled in the dirt. He was a mud-covered, wiggly puppy with a bulging swollen eye. He was a mess and it should have been obvious that he was going to require a lot of care.

When I think back to that meeting (and the subsequent vet appointments, surgeries, medications and such), I sometimes wonder how I ever ended up with him. But there is no dog as sweet, lovable and with such a kind soul as Grif, and I think it is that goodness that blinded me to the mud and made me decide to adopt a dog without knowledge of his medical history. I think somehow, some way, he found me because he needed someone who would not just love him, but who would be able to provide a nearly obsessive level of care for him.


  1. I am so glad that Griffin is on the mend! I also believe that they find us because we will be the caretakers they need. Ozzie is going through chemo treatments for lymphoma right now and though it can be draining on the funds we wouldn't do it any other way! They give more than they take! Good luck and wishing you a happy healthy New Year!

    Linda & Ozzie

    1. I've been reading your blog and I am so sorry he is sick! I hope he gets well!